Appeal lodged against refusal for huge logistics scheme

Enderby Logistics Hub

The Drummond Estate, a Midlands family trust, along with Landchain, have lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate for the £200m Enderby logistics hub.

The site is allocated in Blaby District Council’s adopted Local Plan for employment use. The Drummond Estate says it is the only single large site capable of meeting the Council’s employment land requirements fully.

Blaby Council’s planning officers recommended approval for the scheme, but the application was refused by the planning committee in October 2023.

Martin Ward on behalf of The Drummond Estate, said: “The site is allocated within the Local Plan. The proposed development was compliant with national policy and the Council’s own Core Strategy Policies, as well as the Council’s subsequent Delivery DPD policies for the site. The Council has acknowledged the application is compliant with policy and recommended approval.

“What is saddening is that this appeal will waste taxpayer’s money, as Planning Policy Guidance is quite clear in advising that Local Authorities are liable for all appeal costs if they prevent or delay development which should clearly be permitted when in accordance with the development plan.

“The guidance also highlights the relevance of inaccurate assertions being made about a proposal’s impact, particularly when unsupported by objective analysis and evidence.”

However, a petition has been set up by campaign group Snub the Hub. A statement read: “If approved, the development will result in the loss of one of the last remaining green spaces between our village and Leicester city. It is essential for residents’ mental and physical wellbeing, and the loss of this community asset will have a grave impact on local access to wildlife and the outdoors.”

The 30-hectare site lies to the east of the M1 and south west of the Enderby Park and Ride. The Drummond Estate says the proposals would create 2,000 new jobs and “hundreds” of skills and training opportunities.

The application lodged at appeal includes 106,830 sq m of warehouse and distribution space with integral offices. Set within a new woodland belt and landscape framework, it includes a specialised Logistics Training Centre, which the Trust says would assist in plugging the growing skills gap for high-tech logistics employees across the region.

A multimillion-pound package of highways and transport improvements were set out, including those identified by Leicester County Council. The Drummond Estate said the Local Highway Authority confirmed that the impacts on the road network would not be severe and that the residual cumulative impacts of development can be mitigated in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Ward added: “This application followed years of work with Council officers to ensure comprehensive technical and deliverable solutions were identified. The statutory consultees were all satisfied, including Leicester County Council and National Highways, and it was clearly concluded there was no basis for a refusal on highways grounds.

“With no professional prepared evidence being provided to the contrary, this application should clearly have been determined positively and as a result an appeal has been lodged, together with a costs application.”

Following the original refusal, a new planning application for The Hub was also lodged with Blaby District Council in a bid to push for a decision on a scheme that would provide business space to come forwards in a sustainable location. The site is adjacent to the 5,000-home New Lubbesthorpe development.

The Drummond Estate is a local family trust, which has owned and farmed in the area for over 150 years, and is delivering New Lubbesthorpe.

The Trust says it has already invested over £61m in highways and infrastructure, including a new M1 bridge crossing, drainage systems and the first 46-acres of new parks and connections to power and water. More than 1,000 homes are complete, alongside a new primary school and community hub. Work has also started on the on-site community facilities, including a doctor’s surgery and a Sainsbury’s Local.